We've used Sycamore Education for six years. Great product!
Our old SI system was clunky and slow. Sycamore Education revolutionized our daily workload and processes. Highly recommended for private schools.
Ease of use. Customer support. Frequent updates/upgrades. Meets all IS needs for our private school.
Graphics, as well as look & feel could use an update. Wish this product would integrate with our online curriculum.
Comprehensive Edu Software
Overall we were happy with Sycamore. I highly recommend them for smaller schools and it may be the right fit for larger schools. I think they just need to evaluate what workflows are most important to them and understand the trade-offs of having a wider than deeper program.
First of all, they have excellent customer service. They really are doing their best to help schools succeed. They have great integrations with google, which for us was one of the primary deciding reasons for going with them. They now have a quality app and more features than most programs have for a fraction of the cost. They also have a REST API which is extremely helpful for expanding the potential of the software.
One of the hard parts about being an educational software is that it is hard to know when to stop developing different features and instead focus on making the features they do have into amazing experiences. IMO Sycamore has a broader instead of deeper development philosophy. This is good for small schools that need a comprehensive solution, but it can be frustrating for schools with more users that end up choosing multiple solutions because the overall experience and depth of usability are better. An example of this is how they have 3 different enrollment/admissions portals that they have tried to develop. Instead of making one amazing, they have tried multiple times. Their most recent one is promising, but still, isn't usable for schools who need all of the features available.
There are very little pros, except that I easily reached a customer service rep when I needed help with an issue.
I did not like Sycamore as an LMS. I found its interface to be clunky, filled with unnecessary options, and difficult to navigate. For example, to this day, I still have no idea how to create an assignment so that a student can upload there work. Believe me, I tried to figure it out. Eventually I gave up and used another system. The grade book was another problematic feature. At the end of the semester, it does not show final grades computed with the final exam. You have to go into each individual student and look at there "grade report" to see the end computation. I do not recommend this system. There are much better LMS's available.
Response from Sycamore Leaf Solutions
You mentioned in the Pros section of your review that customer service was easy to reach. That's great, as we hear this often. A phone call or a Teacher Chat would have cleared these issues up quickly. You would have received instructions on how to use the dropbox for student assignments and also directed to the Help section where there are specific instructions. Regarding your issue with final grades, this is a simple configuration issue. Schools definitely have the ability to see final grades computed with the final exam.
Should you use Sycamore in the future, we will gladly help you with your classroom setup. We will also point you to our comprehensive help system with an extensive microlearning library to help you learn all the features of Sycamore at your own pace. We would also recommend that you check out our full integration with Google and Google Classroom it's a great addition to Sycamore School.
We wish you well with your seminary classes!
Sycamore enabled us to get into the 21st century by using an online management system. We love it!
Communication has increased between parents and teachers as grades can be tracked and paper grades don't get lost. It also has provided accountability in that teachers are posting grades on a more timely basis. It allows consistency between grades and years. The system is very powerful; customer service is probably the most helpful that I have encountered. I love the ability to create transcripts and that these are kept on the system. It tracks attendance much better than we were doing previously. The medical logs have been helpful. Doing online admissions has taken us to a new level as well.
The system isn't as intuitive as I would like. Because I have worked with it several years, it's much easier now and people end up coming to me to figure out how to do specific things with it.
I have been frustrated a bit b/c it doesn't allow for creative flexibility (for instance transcripts don't have a lot of space for extra activities) or for things that aren't the same in different countries. We have worked around a lot of the barriers, and Sycamore has been very helpful to put things on the list of potential fixes.
Good Product with Great Potential
Awesome software and features. It was the perfect fit for our start-up organization, and we're still using it.
The simplicity of the software package and the ease of implementation. Sycamore offers the software without nickel and diming for add-ons or necessary features. For a small and/or non-profit institution, it is an AWESOME option at a very reasonable cost.
Not much support in terms of online manuals/support. I function better as a self-directed learner, and the online manuals and videos that were available at the time I onboarded were not very helpful. On the other hand, the phone support was very helpful in assisting when I couldn't find the answer online.
Response from Sycamore Leaf Solutions
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us an honest review! We certainly aim to keep our pricing affordable for institutions like yours. We will use this thoughtful feedback to better ourselves in the future as we continue to ramp up and improve our product. Never hesitate to reach out with a question or concern. We'd love to be of help!
Blessings to you!
1. I would love to see you all at the Mid-Atlantic Convention in Lancaster PA.
2. I had a new family comment that they were telling a group of people their child was coming to the school. Someone in the group, who does not have a child at our school and we are not sure how they even know about the school, spoke up and said "Well they have Sycamore and it is a wonderful program!". Someone is talking!
1, Very cost effective
2. You are purchasing all that the program has to offer. There are no additional fees for upgrades
3. Customer Service is awesome! Quick to respond, helpful and you can reach them by phone or PAN.
4. Very user friendly
5. HIGH HIGH rate of parent satisfaction with being able to access grades, teachers, one another, etc. All of them rave about the program!
6. Sycamore Leaf keeps us updated
7. Sycamore is always seeking to improve their program
8. PAN - we absolutely LOVE this feature. Our high school classrooms are in "learning cottages" aka trailers - and the teachers are separated. This feature allows all of us to feel so connected!
1, Not too many or serious... we did notice that if you make a change on the family or student information (you have the mother's name wrong ex.) then when you correct it, you cannot do it in just one area, you have to go into multiple areas.
2. We had some issues with the GPA configuration. I did not deal with it, but I know our high school conselor had numerous phone calls and PAN' s to get it figured out properly. For some reason we now have to do something different to get our proper grading.
3. Getting my parents over the learning curve of using the program. It is frustrating to hear them say " We seldom check Sycamore" and in our memos and everything else we keep saying HOW MUCH we put on Sycamore and to check it out. Word of mouth is helping this... I hear parents telling other parents that they really need to use it, or someone asking another how they knew about something and they will say "on Sycamore" .
Sycamore is a great solution for small and medium sized schools. It is very reliable.
This database keeps all of our school management information secure and well-organized. There are fields for lots of information and the ability to add custom fields as well. There are features for organizing events, room use, cafeteria management, etc. It does allow teachers to record grades and the grades are then accessible by parents and report cards are easy to generate.
The support is fantastic. Trouble tickets are answered quickly and phone support is great.
The database is securely hosted on-line so it can be accessed anywhere and there is no set-up for a new computer.
The cafeteria feature works really well even with 24 teachers entering attendance / lunch orders at the same time.
Easy to send batch emails and individual emails to parents.
We don't use the "pass-a-note" feature very much. Sometimes parents use it and it comes up on the teacher's screen when they log-on in the morning.
Streamlines School Functions
Overall I like the product. My school has started using more of the functionality of the software and receiving announcements and other important information has been helpful.
I like the app for my phone. It streamlines my ability to quickly send attendance to our office. I also like the school directory so that I can easily pull up information for any school family.
Sending group emails (batch emails) isn't obvious to me. I wish the email portion seemed more like gmail or other email applications.
Response from Sycamore Education
Thank you so much Melissa! We are so happy to see many schools like yours finding our system helpful for the tasks you encounter.
We thank you for your feedback regarding your experience with batch email. We are always working to make ourselves better and make a better product for our Sycamore family.
It's the customer service that takes this SIS over the top!
I have worked with sycamore as a parent, staff member, and super user (software administrator) over the last 7 years. What makes Sycamore work so well, is that it is constantly growing and making enhancements as the needs of it's users grow yet still keeping to the same "feel" and design so that students, parents and teachers don't have to re-learn the software every time there is an enhancement.
The software itself is pretty comprehensive and has been easy to use. We have several schools in our district using the software as well, so as parents move from Elementary School to Middle to our High School, they have appreciated not having to learn a new platform, and those that come from outside our district have commented on how easy it was to make the transition. New teachers grasp on to it's layout very quickly.
It's hard to really talk about cons, because anytime I have found a quirk or issue, Sycamore has been very receptive to those concerns and actively found a solution or came up with an enhancement. They are always growing the product. Which leads me to their support system and customer service. Most of the time I can find my answers in their Online manual or videos. When I need a bit more help, as a Sycamore Super User, can submit a support ticket any time of day and will get a response within the hour...very very rarely have I not connected with a live person when I have phoned, which I rarely have to do. The support staff is well educated in the software and the nicest people you will ever talk/chat with. As a teacher, you can chat anytime during the school day with a support tech, even just to ask a "where do I find" question...no question is too menial.
Overall, you will never find an SIS that meets every schools needs or ways of doing things, so what becomes important is finding an SIS that does the job, is continually growing and advancing, and provides outstanding customer service. This is what Sycamore provides it's customers.
Sycamore does what we need it to do. The customer service is really what keeps us here.
Grade/report card preparation is so much easier for our staff. We have a reliable method of communicating with our parents and staff. (We just need to get parents to log in more regularly!)
Easy to use for parents and staff; customer service is the BEST -- quick to respond , servant-minded and very competent.
There are a few quirks, like only uploading a single photo at a time (unlike something like Facebook where several can be done with a click). We had to go with a different accounting system (Quick Books Online) because we couldn't integrate it with Sycamore. Email is hard to manage at times.
Comprehensive School Information System
Centralized Student Records and Report Cards. Centralized Calendar and Attendance.
Moving from paper report cards a few years back to centralized report cards and student information through Sycamore has been an excellent transition. Their setup team worked to make it a smooth transition. We probably only use half of its functionality at this point but we saw immediate wins with a centralized calendar, documents and family data. The reporting functionality of the system is also very helpful. As we compared Sycamore to other SIS options, it became clear that it was one of the best values that we researched. The live US based tech support has been outstanding. Every staff person I have talked to knows the system well and has been extremely helpful. I highly recommend Sycamore.
The user interface can be difficult to navigate sometimes and find the exact feature you are looking for. It is an excellent School Information System (SIS) but we did realize that its functionality around lesson plans and curriculum is very basic.
Our school has used Sycamore for years, and each year we continue to utilize new elements in it.
centralized data and communication for our whole school on many diffeerent levels: administration and management, staff-wide, with families, with students, and with prospective families/students.
Sycamore keeps all our school data in one place so that the office, administration, and teachers can all share information. The more we learn to use it, the more helpful it is for us! I absolutely love the customer support. They respond quickly, kindly, and are always helpful. They are open to suggestions for change, and often we see those changes take place!
We sometimes call it "clickamore". There are often a lot of steps embedding in a process. That said, there are a lot of shortcuts that I keep learning about that make me like using Sycamore more and more!
We have used Sycamore for about 5 years and are happy with the value for COI.
I am most happy with the ability to access grades and grading where and when ever I have internet access. I don't need to carry a gradebook or storage device with my grade spreadsheets, like years past. Being able to excuse students from assignments or customize who the assignment is assigned to is invaluable.
The interface is improving, but feels a day late the the UI/UX game. We started to use the library module when we first setup with Sycamore, but it needs work and features. The lesson planner for teachers should be scrapped and a connection made with Planbook.com. The Scamore planbook makes it hard to move lessons when things happen like fire drills or snow days.
Overall, Sycamore has been a good experience for us, despite its flaws, and it has helped us manage our school.
Sycamore does a lot. It can do almost anything you would need a SIS to do, and it has the best google classroom integration of any SIS and LMS out there.
Sycamore can be tedious to navigate at times, and some of the design decisions are baffling. It is not easy to figure things out without training.
Response from Sycamore Leaf Solutions
Hello, Rob! Thanks for taking the time to give us an honest, positive review! We really appreciate it! Sycamore continues to listen to our customers and make enhancements based on feedback. We pride ourselves in our product and service, and our support team is readily available to assist. If you ever have any questions( even small ones!), we'd be more than happy to help!
I'm very happy with the fact that it's like a one stop shop. Has everything we need .
a lot of things in one place.
The ability to get and find information that usually had to be found in several locations. As an administrator for this software, I enjoy the ease of creating reports and being able to costomize them. Overall the amount of things you can do with this program is amazing.
There seems to be too many clicks to get to some things. We have a lot of students who don't always share the same last name as their parent so some times it's hard to connect the two when doing some things.
Sycamore Education - The Key to a Smooth Running School
We are extremely pleased with the quality of the product and the service received from Sycamore. Our transition to Sycamore was smooth and the customer support is clear and responsive. Using Sycamore has revolutionized communication throughout our school community. As an experienced school admnistrator and adjunct college professor, I am extremely pleased with Sycamore Education and am grateful for the opportunity to recommend it to others.
1. Looks and performs professionally for school employees and parents.
2. Provides an excellent platform for ongoing communication between the school and home.
3. Customer support is exceptional. They provide helpful, easy to understand assistance in a timely fashion.
4. Over other web-based programs we've used or reviewed, Sycamore stands out as the best value and highest quality for our money.
5. We've received comments from other schools regarding the professional appearance of our grade cards, transcripts, and other school communication.
6. The Pass-a-Note feature makes communication among the school community easy and quick.
7. We've never experienced any "down time"; Sycamore is always functioning quickly and properly.
1. The user manuals would be more beneficial if they guided the user step-by-step through each process, especially during initial setup. What the user manuals lack, the customer support makes up for!
All-around system for schools
We used this at a small Christian school and it really helped us streamline our workflows!
I really liked how it integrated grading, communication, and attendance.
The multiple pop-up windows got annoying after a while. It would be good to integrate some sort of video instruction capabilities where teachers could post information for the students.
All your school information in one place
Parents can pay their child's tuition, lunch account balance and any other fees that may be due without having to go in the office.
I have been using this software for over 4 years. I am able to pay my child's tuition, check their lunch account and pretty much anything their teacher posts that I need to know. Easy to navigate and keep track of yearly expenses.
I have had a few problems logging in but was able to get help easily. Other than that I haven't had any issues.
Response from Sycamore Leaf Solutions
Thank you so much for taking the time to give us a thoughtful review! We appreciate and welcome your feedback. We are happy to serve parents like you. Never hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.
Blessings to you!
Sycamore is a fantastic school management program.
It is so much easier to exchange information between different offices within our school.
Customer service is AWESOME! They are quick to respond and often make upgrades to the system based on our suggestions.
There are few features like church attendance and basic checklists within the grade book that I would love to see them add.
I use this program for all of our schools grades, student information and accounting.
I love that it is easy to use and get around to keep my important information all in one place and to keep my accounting up to date.
That sometimes you have to ask for something to be changed because even as a super user I can not get things added or taken out.
Our school utilizes and loves Sycamore.
We have been very satisfied with the product and the support.
We have been very satisfied with the product and the support. It has met our expectations and beyond. We probably use only half of the features and are excited about the prospects of the implementing and expanding our school's effective using this product.
The conversion from our previous network-based program went flawlessly. We were up an running within a couple of weeks with the majority of the time just verifying data. Our main objective was to improve communication between school and home. Being a small school (<300 students), we were looking for the most inexpensive solution. We compared several of the competitors (e.g. Hunter's, RenWeb, Blackbaud, ACS, etc.) and found this to meet our needs. Our parents appreciate the built-in communication system between them and the school. The customer support is terrific. You can either phone or submit a support ticket online. They respond within 24 hours but most of time sooner.
The user interface is quirky at times. The button placements are not consistently located. It is a menu-driven interface as opposed to GUI though there is rumors of its soon release.
Excellent Customer Service/User Friendly
I would give them an excellent rating and would have no problem recommending Sycamore to any school looking for an online student management system.
I have been working in the education field for 25 years, 20 of them with the local public school system, and have used many different student management systems during that time. Being a small school, I worried when we implemented Sycamore Education because I knew that I was pretty much alone when it came to troubleshooting. No longer would I have an IT rep inhouse who could solve any problems I might have. I have been very happy with the customer service with Sycamore and the ease of use as well. I usually get an answer within 10 minutes any time I submit a ticket for technical help. They are also constantly adding upgrades to the program that are very helpful to the staff and the parents.
There have been very few things that our school personally wanted changed that were not feasible as other schools had not asked for the same changes. We have been able to work around them.
It’s a great teaching tool!
I would highly recommend Sycamore. Our school has benefited so much from using Sycamore and are pleased with the decision we made to use this software. For the price, ease of use and great tech support/upgrades, it would be difficult to find anything better.
Sycamore is priced right and very user friendly. A huge advantage to the system is the technical support. We find the support staff provides great assistance with easy questions as well as more complex solutions. We appreciate their willingness to see us through to the end when we have an issue (even when it's self created). The web-based system provides easy access from anywhere which is a great feature. The system is continually being updated with no expensive upgrade charges which is great for sticking to a budget. Communication with families and among staff is made easy with Sycamore as well.
Not as much database flexibility (adding fields/tracking) as we woud like.